'Some Guy Who Kills People'

Bringing together slasher horror, delusional-superhero seriocomedy and dysfunctional family-reunion uplift, "Some Guy Who Kills People" has few original elements, but does a neat job pulling familiar ones into one likable low-key stew.

Bringing together slasher horror, delusional-superhero seriocomedy and dysfunctional family-reunion uplift, “Some Guy Who Kills People” has few original elements, but does a neat job pulling familiar ones into one likable low-key stew. Kevin Corrigan stars as a former mental patient whose return to society coincides with a grotesque murder spree targeting those who’d bullied him. “Guy” might’ve won limited theatrical release a few years back, but recent underperformance of similar exercises like “Defendor” and “Super” suggest the likeliest outlets for this one will be home-format, where sales prospects look decent.

Ryan Levin’s script has 34-year-old Ken (Corrigan) still living like the most picked-on kid at school. In fact he’s gone back there for more as a high-school janitor, when not laboring for a boorish ice-cream shop boss (Lou Beatty Jr.). He still lives with mom (Karen Black), who never misses a chance to remind him of his deficiencies, and has the same best/only friend in co-worker Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick). Indeed, the only thing that’s changed between high school and now is that Ken spent most of the interim in a psychiatric ward, driven over the edge by a murky trauma glimpsed in recurrent flashbacks.

A talented if unappreciated artist, he draws comicbooks about a superhero wreaking vengeance on those who evade justice. These acts seem to be coming to life via grisly local killings whose connecting thread the Sheriff (Barry Bostwick, pretty funny) and Deputy (Eric Price) are slow to uncover. Meanwhile, Ken’s ability to continue to keep a profile so low it’s subterranean is threatened on two fronts: First, transplanted Brit Stephanie (Lucy Davis) pretty much badgers him into dating her. Second, 11-year-old Amy (Ariel Gade), a daughter he never knew he had, shows up determined to assign him the dad role so as to escape her fundamentalist stepfather.

Amy seems borderline-annoyingly precocious and chipper until we realize it’s an act; she’s as much a social misfit as her biological pa. Ken gradually warms to these intrusive new relationships, though erstwhile classmates keep dying, and the police are beginning to suspect him.

A step up for helmer Jack Perez after several cheesy cable pics (like “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus”), “Some Guy” is smoothly crafted, striking the right balance between ironic horror/noir-fantasy tropes, the comedy mostly in a deadpan improv vein, and some formulaic but well-earned sentimentality. In a rare lead role, Corrigan is aces, supporting thesps solid (though Black could have dialed it down a bit). Tech package is nicely turned.

Some Guy Who Kills People

Production

A Level 10 Films, Battle of Ireland Films and Litn-Up Films production. Produced by Ryan Levin, Michael Wormser, Micah Goldman. Executive producer, John Landis. Co-producers, Jack Perez, Kristin Holt. Directed by Jack Perez. Screenplay, Ryan Levin.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Shawn Maurer; editor, Chris Conlee; music, Ben Zarai, David Kitchens; music supervisors, Patrick Belton, Sanaz Lavaedian; production designer, Zach Bangma; art director, Oliver Dear; costume designer, Vania Ouzounova; visual effects supervisor, Dear; sound, David Alvarez; sound designers, Zarai, Kitchens; re-recording mixer, Zarai; supervising sound editors, David Barber, Zarai; assistant director, Cory Johnson; casting, Lisa Essary. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, Nov. 1, 2011. (In Fantasia, Screamfest, Sitges, Toronto After Dark film festivals.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Kevin Corrigan, Barry Bostwick, Karen Black, Leo Fitzpatrick, Ariel Gade, Lucy Davis, Eric Price, Lou Beatty Jr., Janie Haddad, Christopher May, Niko Nicotera, Jonathan Fraser, Britain Spellings, Lindsay Hollister, Regan Burns.

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